Does your Dachshund get scared by the sound of fireworks, thunderstorms, or other loud noises outside? Are you trying to work out how to help them cope? Here’s everything you need to know about Dachshunds and fireworks.
How To Help A Dachshund Cope With Fireworks Or Thunderstorms:
- Use sound therapy
- Start training young
- Go for an early walk
- Keep your Dachshund inside
- Shut the curtains or blinds
- Don’t leave your Dachshund alone
- Prepare distractions and chews
- Mask bangs with white noise
- Setup a den
- Act like it’s no big deal
- Buy a Thundershirt
- Use a head band
Read on to find out how to spot the signs of anxiety in Dachshunds and how to make it easier for them to cope when there are fireworks or thunderstorms outside.
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This article is based on research and personal experience as a Dachshund owner of 10+ years. I’m not a Vet, qualified dog trainer or dog behaviourist.
How To Tell If Your Dachshund Is Stressed
Although loved by lots of people and used to mark great celebrations, fireworks can be terrifying for a Dachshund.
Dogs have absolutely no idea what’s going on or what’s causing these sudden loud noises and big, bright flashes in the sky.
So, the most important first step to help your Dachshund cope with fireworks, is to learn how to recognise the signs they’re stressed.
This is how to tell if a Dachshund is stressed:
Your Dachshund may lose their appetite when stressed
Your Dachshund might stop eating because of his fear of fireworks or other loud noises. This may even continue on for a few days after the traumatic event.
Be sure to watch out for your Dachshund completely losing his appetite. Refusing to eat and acting out of character are clear signs that he’s feeling anxious.
Your Dachshund may bark when stressed
Your Dachshund might be very vocal about how he feels when he hears strange noises outside.
Sometimes he may bark or growl just to alert you, but other times it’s because he’s scared of the fireworks or loud bangs as they go off.
Your Dachshund may hide when stressed
If your Dachshund is afraid of loud noises outside, he might try to find a place in your house to hide.
He may crawl under the sofa or wriggle between the bed covers to make himself feel safer.
Your Dachshund may tremble when stressed
Sadly, when Dachshunds are afraid or anxious, they can start to tremble or shake, and even whimper or cry.
The shaking can sometimes be quite extreme and is absolutely heartbreaking to watch.
Your Dachshund may potty when stressed
If your Dachshund feels extra nervous when hearing loud and unexpected noises, he might wee or poop in the home.
Some Dachshunds do this occasionally anyway – especially when it rains!
But, if it’s out of character, then you’ll know it’s because your Dachshund is anxious or scared.
Your Dachshund may yawn or drool when stressed
If your Dachshund is nervous you might notice him licking his lips quite excessively.
He might also yawn, drool or slobber more than usual.
Your Dachshund may pant when stressed
It’s common for Dachshunds to pant when stressed and scared.
Anxiety makes them hot, and panting is a way for them to regulate their body temperature.
So always make sure there’s water nearby for your Dachshund to drink.
Your Dachshund may pace when stressed
Some Dachshunds can’t stand still when they’re stressed by things like fireworks or thunderstorms outside.
So don’t shut your Dachshund in one room. Allow him to pace around the home and figure out for himself where he wants to be.
Your Dachshund may try to escape when stressed
Some loud noises outside can be very sudden and could make you and your Dachshund jump.
This could make him try to run away, out of fear from potential danger outside.
If you notice any of these changes in your Dachshund’s behaviour when there are fireworks, thunder or other loud bangs going on outside, then he’s probably feeling very stressed and overwhelmed.
How To Help A Dachshund Cope With Fireworks And Thunderstorms
Now you know what the key signs of stress in Dachshunds might be, you need to help prepare your Dachshund for events like Bonfire Night, Fourth of July, Diwali or New Year’s Eve.
This Is How To Help Your Dachshund Cope With Fireworks and Thunderstorms:
Work on sound therapy with your Dachshund to help them cope with fireworks and thunderstorms
Sound therapy or desensitivity training means getting your Dachshund used to firework noises gradually over time.
Like people, Dachshunds tend to feel more comfortable once they’re more familiar with something.
So, if the fireworks are less of a surprise to your Dachshund, it might help him feel more at ease and less stressed.
To desensitise your Dachshund to the sound of fireworks, you need to download a ‘firework sounds for dogs’ or ‘thunderstorm sounds for dogs’ track.
There are plenty of options online and you can even play these kind of sound therapy tracks straight from YouTube.
Once you have your firework or thunder tracks, start playing them at home on a very low volume to start with.
It’s important to keep the volume really low so you can barely hear it. Dachshunds have more sensitive hearing than us humans!
If all goes well, continue playing the firework or thunder sounds but start increasing the volume very gradually over the following weeks.
Stay with your Dachshund at all times and tune-in to how he seems.
You may be able to increase the volume quicker or you may have to back off and go slower, depending on how he reacts.
This is just so your Dachshund can adjust to the fireworks or thunder sounds slowly over time, helping him realise there’s absolutely nothing to be afraid of.
Sound therapy, or desensitivity training as it’s sometimes know, is a crucial tool for dog training.
It helps you get to the route of your Dachshund’s anxiety to calm his fear around loud or scary sounds he may encounter at any time.
As well as fireworks and thunderstorms, loud noises could also include things like car sirens or building work near where you live.
So it can be a real benefit to have your Dachshund desensitised to the different noises which might crop up in everyday life.
Start training your Dachshund as a puppy to help them cope with fireworks and thunderstorms
When you have a young puppy, it’s natural to want to protect them from everything.
When there are fireworks or thunderstorms outside, your natural instinct may be to pick up your pup, cuddle them and make a big fuss.
However, this may make your Dachshund think there’s something to worry about, and may do more harm than good.
It’s much better to act like the noise outside is no big deal. Carry on as normal and don’t mollycoddle him too much.
When the fireworks or thunder starts, play with your Dachshund, teach new tricks, and use treats and toys to distract him!
Try to get your Dachshund to associate the loud noises with positive associations, and not fear!
If you start getting him used to loud noises from an early age, you’re much less likely to have issues as he gets older.
In fact, some Dachshunds that are exposed to loud noises early on aren’t fussed about thunder and fireworks at all!
Take your Dachshund for an early walk before the fireworks begin
On days when you know fireworks are likely, take your Dachshund for his afternoon walk before it gets dark outside.
Don’t go too far way from home in case someone lets off any fireworks early!
It’s actually best to do the main walk earlier in the day if you can, and just take him out for a quick wee in the evening.
This is just so you aren’t caught out when the main firework display begins.
On days when you know there’s a strong chance of fireworks or thunderstorms, it’s best to keep your Dachshund on a leash.
The last thing you want is to give your Dachshund an unnecessary fright that could cause him to try and escape in an attempt to find safety.
Not only would this be distressing, it could also make his fear and anxiety even worse!
Keep your Dachshund inside the home on firework nights and during thunderstorms
Always keep your Dachshund right beside you on firework nights or when there are thunderstorms happening outside.
Being at home with you in familiar surroundings is where your Dachshund should feel most safe and comfortable.
Staying inside will also help to muffle the loud firework or thunderstorm sounds. Of course, it’s never going to be perfect, but it’s better than being outside!
Staying at home will also stop your Dachshund trying to run off and escape.
Be sure to keep the front and back doors shut because, if he gets frightened, he may try and make a bolt for it.
Make sure everyone in the home takes extra special care if they open the door too.
It’s also a good idea to let your Dachshund sleep close to you if he’s frightened, even if he doesn’t normally do that.
This is just so he doesn’t get scared or anxious during the night.
Make sure your yard is Dachshund proof
When fireworks go off, some Dachshunds just run, and they don’t think of anything other than getting away.
So, on days where your know there’s a risk of storms or fireworks, be sure to go outside with your Dachshund for safety and reassurance.
Shut the curtains so your Dachshund can’t see the flashing lights in the sky
If there are flashing fireworks or lightening in the sky which is freaking your Dachshund out, shut your curtains or blinds.
This’ll make it less triggering and help him to feel safer in the home.
Don’t leave your Dachshund alone on firework nights or when there are storms forecast
Never go out and leave a frightened Dachshund by themselves on fireworks night or when there are storms forecast.
Leaving your Dachshund alone will probably make his fears much worse. You are his family and he’ll be looking to you for support.
Dachshunds are pack animals and, in situations of danger, they’ll feel much better if they have their pack nearby.
Prepare some distractions for your Dachshund during fireworks and thunderstorms
Make sure you’ve got your Dachshund’s favourite toys and treats at the ready to help distract him from the loud bangs and noises.
Use the treats to teach him some new tricks and keep his attention focused on you, rather than the big scary noises outside.
If your Dachshund can’t settle, give him a long-lasting chew or Kong to keep him distracted for longer.
For dogs that are food motivated, tasty treats and food will often distract them from fireworks and thunderstorms!
Mask the noise of fireworks or thunder from your Dachshund to help them cope
While the fireworks or thunderstorm is happening, play some background noise to try and muffle the sounds a bit. Maybe watch TV or listen to music.
Keep the volume at the normal level. Don’t increase it to drown out the noise outside as that could add to your Dachshund’s overwhelm and make things even worse.
If you’re going to put the radio on, classical music is said to have the most calming effect on dogs.
This may help to distract your Dachshund from the sounds of fireworks or thunder and lightening outside.
Get cosy blankets ready for your Dachshund when there are fireworks or thunderstorms forecast
Dachshunds are burrowing dogs who feel most at home snuggled under cosy blankets. So if your Dachshund feels scared, he might try and hide himself to get away.
This means it’s a good idea to have some nice, cosy blankets at the ready for him to dive under and help him feel safer during a firework display or thunderstorm.
Setup a den for your Dachshund to hide when there are fireworks and thunderstorms outside
For many Dachshunds, crates and dens are often seen as safe spaces to hide and retreat to if things get a bit too overwhelming.
Just remember to keep the crate door open so your Dachshund can go in and out when he wants to. And lay a blanket over the sides so it feels dark and more protected.
If you don’t use a crate, that’s ok. You could also setup a den by draping a blanket or sheet over a table so your Dachshund can hide away underneath.
Whichever option you choose, you can sit on the floor beside your Dachshund to give that extra reassurance that you’re there.
Act like it’s no big deal so your Dachshund doesn’t stress over fireworks and thunderstorms
Even though you may be feeling stressed at seeing your Dachshund so distressed, you must stay calm.
Your Dachshund will be looking to you for reassurance, so you have to be confident and take charge of the situation.
If you panic or fuss, your Dachshund will instantly pick up on this and it’ll make him feel more stressed.
Worse than that, he may start to think he actually has something to worry about!
So make sure you act like it’s no big deal but still be there for your Dachshund if he needs you.
So just keep an eye on your Dachshund, and help him by offering some comfy blankets or bedding to crawl under if he wants to.
Buy a thundershirt for your Dachshund to help them cope with fireworks or storms
A Thundershirt is basically a jacket that wraps around your Dachshund’s torso.
It applies constant pressure to your Dachshund’s acupressure points, releasing endorphins to help keep him calm. It’s a bit like a reassuring hug!
Thundershirts are also known by other names like ‘calm coats’, ‘thunder vests’ or ‘thunder jackets’ – but they’re basically all the same thing!
Many owners swear by them for drastically reducing their Dachshund’s anxiety. However, others found they didn’t have much effect, so it will be dependent on the individual dog.
Obviously, you can’t keep a Thundershirt on your Dachshund all the time, so it’s much better to work on his behavioural issues and desensitise him to loud noises over time.
For the short-term though, Thundershirts are definitely worth a try. They’re a drug-free alternative to anxiety meds and a potential solution for firework nights and thunderstorms.
Put a head band on your Dachshund to muffle the sound of fireworks and thunderstorms
Some owners make a headband and put it over their Dachshund’s ears.
You can do this by cutting the toe section off an old pair of large socks and then slipping the band of fabric over your Dachshund’s nose and head to cover his ears.
It looks almost like an Alice band around his head, holding his big ears down!
This does help some Dachshunds cope with the loud noises outside, but must only be worn under supervision and for very short periods of time.
If your Dachshund doesn’t like it, take it off right away. You don’t want to add to his stress and make the situation even worse!
It can’t be comfortable for a Dachshund to lay with a band around their ears for a long time. So be sure to check it’s not too tight and never leave it on overnight.
Speak to your vet about your Dachshund’s anxiety around fireworks and thunderstorms
Anxiety is a perfectly normal reaction for a Dachshund to have in situations where they feel uncomfortable, threatened or uncertain about what’s going on.
It’s pretty much the same as how we feel as humans when in scary situations!
However, sometimes the fear surrounding fireworks or thunderstorms is just too much for a Dachshund to cope with.
So, if your Dachshund is showing severe signs of anxiety, you need to speak with your vet for advice.
The vet may suggest giving your Dachshund some medication to calm them on days when you know there’ll be fireworks or storms forecast.
You know your Dachshund best, so just do what you feel is right!
So, there you have it! Some Dachshunds can be very afraid of fireworks and thunderstorms outside. So start sound therapy training while they’re still young, desensitise them to loud noises by playing those sounds around the home, and gradually increase the volume over time.
On fireworks nights or when you know there’ll be thunderstorms, stay inside, shut the curtains, make a den, play white noise, use a Thundershirt, distract your Dachshund with treats, and try to act like it’s no big deal!
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